The USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships are coming to the East Coast for the first time since becoming a one-race event July 17-22 at Mount Snow in Vermont. To get to nationals, racers must qualify at pre-selected events which are limited to state championship races, AMBC races, Mountain Bike National Calendar races, USA Cycling Junior Development Camps, Alison Dunlap Junior Olympic Mountain Bike Series races, and the 2006 national championships.
One such opportunity to get to nationals will happen at the Greenbriar State Park in Maryland on April 29. The long-running race will serve as the Maryland state championships at which the top 15 licensed finishers in every age category will automatically qualify for Nationals. Given that only a few East Coast races provide qualifying opportunities and Maryland is centrally located in the populous mid-Atlantic region, the race will likely draw large fields.
Look for a collection of pro racers to make a strong showing, too. Greenbriar is awarding UCI Points, which will determine Olympic starting spots for each nation. Furthermore, UCI points will be the primary factor in selecting individuals to the US Olympic Long Team at the end of 2007.
Already confirmed are Jeremiah Bishop (Trek / VW), highest placed American at a World Championships in over a decade at the 2006 World Championships, former Olympian and multi-time national cycling champion Todd Wells (GT), perennial front-runner Sue Haywood (Trek / VW), and recent Sea Otter Classic short track winner and Katie Compton (Spike), who took second place in the World Cyclo-cross Championships in early 2007.
Leading up to the event, organizers were reporting record-breaking pre-registration numbers. "We already have 197 entries with nearly two weeks to go before the race," said the race's publicist Ken Getchell. The race will award over $10,000 in prizes.